15.2.05

Secret Gnome Garden

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A secret gnome garden at the bottom of Wastwater has been blamed for the deaths of a number of divers. But police efforts to remove the gnomes have been thwarted as the underwater garden ornaments have been quickly replaced. Local divers say they have known about the collection for years. "It's a bit of a secret society among divers which no-one is meant to know about," said Paul Renucci, an experienced diver from Carlisle. But now the secret has been revealed. Divers from all over the country have been coming to Wastwater for years to visit the garden and have tried to keep it quiet. "I"ve seen around 40 gnomes down there but there must be more. They are all over Wastwater. The police's North West Regional Underwater Search Unit removed the gnomes, after they were blamed for attracting divers to the murky depths of the lake.

The gnome garden was created because there is very little to see in the lakes. It gives divers something to visit. Wastwater was probably chosen because it has the clearest water. When people see the gnomes they think they are hallucinating, he added. Other lakes also have unusual exhibits under the surface.

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